Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Jesse Aycock and the back story of his amazing record.
This has nothing to do with art.... well maybe a little in that music is an art, but I thought I would share this that my son, Jesse wrote about his experience in making his wonderful record. I might add that his dad had just gotten out of the hospital after having a heart attack and he walked out of the hospital, got in the car, and I drove him straight to the Church Studio where he would let the music heal his body and his soul :-) It was a magical, life affirming experience for us all. The record was amazing, beautiful, otherworldly.
It was just another normal day in Tulsa.... I had stopped into Cheap Thrills vintage clothing to do some rummaging before heading home. On the drive back this thought of making a record kept cycling around in my head. At one point I remember thinking “do I have enough songs to make a record and who would fit the vibe best”. It came to me instantly - George Sluppick and Neal Casal with Eric Arndt ! I had known of Neal since I was first introduced to his music in middle school by my dad. I was instantly a fan and really felt a strong connection to what he was doing. I had just met George pretty recently and had been playing with Eric for awhile. I will get more into this later -
Fast forward to the early 2000’s. I had finished making my first record “life’s ladder” and released it into the world. I received a message from someone named Lex on MySpace (who is now a friend of mine) saying how much she loved the record and that she wanted to send it to her friend, Neal Casal. She also wanted to send his music to me. She thought we should know of each other and maybe one day collaborate. I told her I was honored she liked the album and that she didn’t need to send me Neals work because I already had it. It wasn’t long after that I opened an email from Neal expressing how much he loved the record Lex had sent him, and that we should play music sometime. I couldn’t believe that someone I looked up too so much actually wrote me, and liked was I was doing, and wanted to jam sometime ! I wrote back and expressed how much his letter meant, and that I loved the idea of collaborating.
Fast forward again .... Neal comes through Tulsa with the Cardinals a few years later and hits me up out of the blue. At this point we had never met face to face. I picked him up from the bus that was parked outside the Brady Theater and gave him a tour of Tulsa. He had his camera so I figured he would like to see some of the stranger parts of town and some of the landmarks. After running around a bit I wanted to bring him by to check out my record collection. In talking with him I realized we had very similar taste in music and shared the same passion / addiction of collecting vinyl. We flipped through a bunch of stuff and picked around on guitars a bit before running back to the venue.
Fast forward a few years later ....My friend Eric and I were spending a lot of time in Little Rock, AR playing with our friend Jason Weinheimer who also ran a studio. Jason mentioned that he knew this great drummer from Memphis, George Sluppick and that we should meet him. He said George was coming through that weekend and that we should come over and jam at the studio. We got in my car and drove over. As soon as we started playing together I thought this is magic. George and Eric sounded great together ! We spent the rest of that night jamming and hanging out. By the end we all agreed we should keep playing together.
Fast forward a few months later .... I get a call from George and he says “hey man guess who I’m sitting with ?” I say “who” he says “Neal Casal”. “I tried out for this band the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and am now the drummer. We were talking about Tulsa and your name came up. Thought we would give you a call.” What a small world.
So getting back to where I started ..... I’m leaving the vintage clothing store and thinking about making a record, and who I would want involved. It came to me instantly, Neal, George and Eric. At that very moment I got a call from George who I hadn’t talked with in months. He said “hey man what you got going on ? We have some time off with the brotherhood. Wanna do some shows or make a record ?“ I couldn’t believe the cosmic forces at work. I said “ I was literally just thinking of this.” I knew Leon Russell’s old Church studio had some gear moved back in after sitting abandoned for years. I thought it would be so cool to do something in there. My friend Jason Weinheimer from Little Rock said he’d come over and run the session. George, Neal and Eric were all into it, so I started making calls and had a session booked by the end of the day. It was all falling into place perfectly. We had 10 days to make a record in one of the most vibey places on the planet. During the session we got a surprise visit from David Hidalgo who happened to be in town for an experience Hendrix tour. He was hanging out in the control room with Jason while we were tracking and we had no idea. We all came in and said hello and listened back to what we had just cut. David was sitting in this chair smoking weed out of an apple when he said “can I try something ? I have an idea” we all looked at each other and said of course ! He went in, and in one take played this insane solo that almost seemed out of place. When he came back in the control room he said “now run the tape backwards” when we listened back our jaws dropped to the ground. It’s was pure magic ! He then went back to his hotel to grab his Hidalgophone guitar for another tune we cut called “out to space”. During the session we also got a visit from the legendary Jimmy Karstein. He shared all kinds of wild stories about tracking in the church back when Leon had it, and going on the road with JJ Cale. He also played some mean maracas on a few tunes. If you wanna hear a good Karstein story find a copy of “Don Nicks Road Stories and Recipes” there’s a great one in there. There were lots of magical moments throughout the whole experience. By the end we came out with a great record called “Flowers & Wounds” and some wonderful memories.